lunes, 3 de julio de 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Today's Insight

Hong Kong and China: One Country, One Future? | Will Edwards, The Cipher Brief
Xi Jinping will make his first visit to Hong Kong as president of China this week as the territory prepares to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its handover from Britain to China.

Expert Commentary

Is Hong Kong Losing its Identity? |
 Mathew Wong, Assistant Professor, University of Hong Kong
"I think Hong Kong will gradually become an ordinary Chinese city without its uniqueness. Hong Kong is constantly integrating with China in every aspect, e.g., daily Chinese immigrants, Chinese capital, infrastructure, policy, and the gradual decline of liberty."

Hong Kong and Beijing: Getting Back to "Basics"  |
 Richard Bush, Director, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Brookings Institution
"The situation now is that not only does the effort to expand the scope of competitive and popular elections seem to have stalled, but there are also disturbing signs that Beijing—the central government—wants to cut back on the political freedoms, civil rights, and the rule of law in Hong Kong."

Today's Column: State of Play

Is the U.S. Getting Outmaneuvered at Sea? | Admiral James Stavridis, Former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO
"What is happening now is Russia and China are both increasing their defense budgets dramatically, and they’re both putting a great deal of money and technological attention into their fleets. Russia will add 100 ships to its fleet between now and the early 2020s. China’s military and maritime budget is growing equally rapidly."

Must-Read On The Cipher Brief

Dead Drop: June 30 |
UNIFORMLY STUPID: It is not often you hear an Inspector General describe a decision as “stupid,” but an editorial in the Military Times newspapers quotes the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction saying a decision by the former Afghan Defense Minister to outfit Afghan troops in “forest camouflage” uniforms “just simply stupid.” The selection is reportedly a pattern which “boldly stands out in the vast majority of Afghan environs.” The U.S. has spent about $28 million on the outfits, even paying a 40% markup premium. The result, Military Times says, makes “Afghan troops sharp-dressed targets.” Of course, DoD is no slouch at making bad choices when it comes to uniforms – for example making sailors wear “digital blue” camo, which ensures they blend in with the sea if they fall overboard. That is like designing school crossing guard uniforms so that they blend in with pavement.


The Cipher Brief Daily Podcast
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15 Minutes
As the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force under President Obama, one of Deborah Lee James' principal concerns was U.S. advancement in space. She believes it's mission-critical for the United States to better protect its satellite communication and missile warning systems. The Cipher Brief's Fritz Lodge joined Secretary James for a discussion on the role of U.S. armed forces in space—and some of the game-changing advancements that may come soon in space-based missile defense.

Listen to 15 Minutes: Secretary James on Space-Based Missile Defense - or get it on iTunes

The Cipher Take

Iraq Declares End of ISIS Caliphate
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi told his country Thursday that, after eight months of vicious fighting, the caliphate announced by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdad in Mosul over two years ago has fallen. His comments followed the liberation by Iraqi military forces of the historic Grand al Nuri Mosque in Mosul, which retreating ISIS forces destroyed earlier this week. “The return of al Nuri and al Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation,” said Abadi, “marks the end of the Daesh [ISIS] state of falsehood.”

The Cipher Take:
Abadi is not entirely correct to declare the end of ISIS’ caliphate. The group still controls roughly 40 percent of the Old City of Mosul, as well as territory surrounding Tal Afar to the west of Mosul, as well as other isolated pockets throughout the country. However, this is a major symbolic victory for Iraq. The territory that ISIS continues to hold in Mosul represents less than 1 percent of the city, while Iraqi military and paramilitary forces are encircling Tal Afar. With ISIS’ territorial presence in Iraq, Abadi will face political and geopolitical battles ahead.

Want more of The Cipher Take? Read the rest of our analysis on today's headlines at

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